Glenwood lax falls to Vail Mountain in season opener |

Glenwood lax falls to Vail Mountain in season opener

Glenwood senior attacker Ben Liotta fights for possession of the ball against two Vail Mountain defenders during Thursday's season-opener in Glenwood at Stubler Memorial Field.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Opening up the 2017 season at Stubler Memorial Field Thursday afternoon against the Vail Mountain Gore Rangers, the Glenwood Springs Demons lacrosse team came out of the gate fast before stumbling in the second half, falling by a score of 19-10 to the Gore Rangers.

“There was just a lack of communication to start the second half and we had a lot of defensive slides there,” Glenwood Head Coach Jay French said. “We had a lot of young guys in there, because we’re still missing some key guys that are finishing up others sports and activities, but we have to have much better communication on defense.”

In the first live action under new co-head coaches French and Jason Rusby, the Demons got off to a fast start as standout junior attacker Zach Johnson got the Demons on the board just 16 seconds into the game.

Johnson took a feed behind the net from junior Foster Lemkau before circling in front of the net, firing a shot past the stunned Vail Mountain goalie for the first goal of the game, firing up the young Demons.

But in a sign of things to come, the Gore Rangers would strike fast and often as senior midfielder Kyle Negomir would get Vail Mountain on the board just over two minutes later, capping off a long possession in the attacking zone. Negomir’s goal would jump-start a string of six straight goals for the Gore Rangers as senior attacker Luke Verratti would score a natural hat trick for Vail Mountain, finding the back of the net three times in a row, including a terrific no-look, bouncing shot while falling to the ground at the 7:01 mark of the first period.

Negomir’s second goal of the game would make it 6-1 Gore Rangers, forcing the Demons to respond quickly before the game got out of hand.

Glenwood senior attacker Ben Liotta would put the Demons on his back early in the second period by beating the Vail Mountain keeper high over his right shoulder to make it 6-2. Liotta’s goal was created thanks to a turnover by the Gore Ranger netminder on a bad clear that found its way into the netting of a streaking Johnson, who then made a terrific pass to Liotta in front for the goal.

The Demons would score two more goals after Liotta’s as Lemkau and junior attacker Andrew Kollar would pot goals for the Demons to pull Glenwood to within two, 6-4, midway through the second period.

Verratti would strike again for the Gore Rangers, netting his fourth goal of the game to extend the Vail Mountain lead to 7-4, but Johnson would answer right back with a laser of a shot from just inside the attacking zone that sailed right past the Vail Mountain netminder’s head, making it 7-5 Gore Rangers.

Following Johnson’s goal, things seemed to be looking up for the Demons, but Verratti quickly swung momentum back in favor of the Gore Rangers by scoring his fifth and sixth goals of the game to make it 9-5 Vail Mountain late in the second period.

Glenwood senior midfielder Shane Beckley would net the Demons a late goal just before the half to make it 9-6 heading into the break, giving Glenwood something to build on to start the second half.

Unfortunately for the Demons, the halftime break did more bad than good for the young Glenwood team as the Gore Rangers came out on fire, scoring three quick goals in the first two minutes of the half to put the Demons on their heels early in the second half.

“The lack of communication was a big problem,” French said. “But we have to keep working hard, and we definitely have to improve on our face-offs. Vail has two brothers that just dominated us in the face-off circle, and I think that sort of weighed on our defense tonight.”

Vail Mountain would add a couple more goals in the third period to pull away from the Demons before Liotta would stop the barrage from the Gore Rangers, potting his second goal of the game off of yet another assist from Johnson.

Liotta would cap off the hat trick just a few minutes later by taking a pass behind the Vail Mountain net before crashing his way into the middle of the field right in front of the Gore Ranger net, beating the keeper above his left shoulder for the goal, pulling Glenwood to within eight, 16-8.

“Offense was a positive tonight,” French said. “When we were able to maintain possession and set up our offense, we scored almost every time. But it was just hard to get it set up consistently tonight.”

Johnson would then add his third goal of the game midway through the fourth period, beating the Vail Mountain netminder high over his shoulder to make it 16-9, but the Gore Rangers would add three straight goals to make it 19-9, putting the game well out of reach for the Demons.

Glenwood wouldn’t quit though as Liotta would score his fourth goal of the game just as the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the game, capping off the final score at 19-10, dropping the Demons to 0-1 on the year.

Looking to bounce back from a tough loss, the Demons will take on the Montrose Indians Saturday on the road at 11 a.m.

In the loss, Johnson finished with three goals and three assists, while Liotta added four goals.

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